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Photos of the performance in our photo gallery


An opera in three acts (four scenes)

Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (1839–1881)

Libretto by M. P. Mussorgsky in association with A. A. Golenishchev-Kutuzov

The Opera Plot

Setting: Velikiye Sorochintsi, a village near Poltava.
Time: the beginning of the 19th century.

A hot sunny day. A noisy fair is in full swing. There has arrived Cherevik to sell his wheat and mare. His beautiful daughter Parasya has come with him. Willing to frighten the sellers and to buy their goods at lower prices, Gypsy tells the crowd that in an old shed nearby, there has settled the Red Svitka (a svitka is a traditional Ukrainian shirt). It belongs to the Devil and puts an evil curse on people. Meanwhile, a young man called Gritsko is having a romantic chat with Parasya whose beauty overwhelmed his heart. At first, Cherevik is displeased with the young man’s bold flirtation, but having found out that Gritsko is a son of his old friend Kum, he doesn’t mind their marriage. Now it is necessary to go to a tavern. Late in the evening, Cherevik comes back home from the tavern together with Kum and gets a hostile reception from his wife Khivrya. But there is no limit to her anger when it appears that the fiancé is the young man who mocked at her lately. Having heard this conversation, Gritsko gets extremely upset. However, Gipsy offers his help on condition that the young man sells him his oxen at a low price.

Khivrya, who has turned her spouse out of the house for the whole night on a plausible pretext, is in anticipation of seeing her lover Afanasiy Ivanovich. Finally, the priest’s son appears, lavish with high-flown compliments. Khivrya is diligently waiting on the guest. But the flirtation of the priest’s son is suddenly broken off by a knock on the gate – there have arrived Cherevik and Kum with the guests. Khivrya hides her lover, who is shaking with fear, on the plank bed. The unexpected visitors are scared to death by the Red Svitka which is rumoured to have appeared at the fair. Only after having a stiff drink do they gradually calm down. Kum starts to tell a story about the Devil who has pledged his red svitka to a tavern keeper and now, in the likeness of a pig, is looking for it throughout the fair. All of a sudden, a pig muzzle appears in the window scaring the life out of everybody. The guests and the hosts run every which way.

Young men led by Gypsy catch Cherevik and Kum and tie them up ostensibly for their having stolen a mare. According to Gypsy’s ingenious plan, the role of the rescuer is played by Gritsko. As a reward, the young man demands that the wedding be arranged promptly, and Cherevik willingly agrees. Dreaming of Parasya, the happy fiancé falls asleep. He dreams about the Black God and his retinue having a sabbath which only ends when the church bell starts to toll.

Parasya misses her sweetheart. Thus, the more joyful the lovers’ meeting is. Taking advantage of Khivrya’s absence, Cherevik blesses the bride and the groom.Khivrya, who comes inopportunely, tries in vain to stop them. Gypsy and the young men carry her away while everyone is laughing.

The pre-premiere performance was given on 20 March 2009 in Tver Academic Drama Theatre within the framework of Mussorgsky First International Festival of Russian Opera.

The premiere of the performance in Moscow took place on 27th and 28th May 2009 at the Theatrical and Concert Hall of “The Palace on the Yauza” (the former culture centre of Moscow Electric Bulb Plant).


Production Group

Production director & choreographer – Mikhail Kislyarov

Production conductor – Alexander Zhilenkov

Production designer – Oleg Skudar

Costume designer – Olga Oshkalo

Light designer – Vladimir Ivakin

Associate director – Andrey Gradov

Assistant director – Olga Aristova

Orchestra director – Valentina Novikova

Characters and Cast:

CherevikPeople’s Artist of Russia Alexander Vedernikov

Khivrya, Cherevik’s wife Lyudmila Vorobyova

Parasya, Cherevik’s daughter, Khivrya’s step-daughter

Nadezhda Nivinskaya

KumYuriy Baranov

GritskoAnton Ivanov

Afanasiy Ivanovich, a priest’s sonVeniamin Yegorov

GypsySergey Moskalkov

Men and women sellers, gypsies, Jews, young men, cossacks, girls, guests.

The choral and choreographic ensemble of the theatre.

The performance duration is 1 h 45 min


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